2 Corinthians 7:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV: "Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

2 Corinthians 7:1, ESV: "Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God."

2 Corinthians 7:1, KJV: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

2 Corinthians 7:1, NASB: "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let’s cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT: "Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God."

2 Corinthians 7:1, CSB: "So then, dear friends, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God."

What does 2 Corinthians 7:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul begins by referencing "these promises" possessed by those who are in Christ. He has just referenced several Old Testament Scriptures connecting God's promises to the Israelites with their obedience at separating from ungodly nations and unclean things. Some of God's promises to Israel depended on the Israelites' willingness and ability to obey God in this way. This was the structure of the old covenant.

Under the new covenant, however, are God's promises to live with those who are in Christ, to be their Father, and to welcome them into His presence forever. These are not dependent on the believer's ability to obey; they are dependent only on Christ. Paul wrote at the beginning of this letter, "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory" (2 Corinthians 1:20).

In other words, to have God's promises in Christ is to have them securely. How should believers respond to rock-solid promises from the God who does not lie? We must clean ourselves up in both body and spirit. Since God lives in believers right now in the Holy Spirit, Christians must remove from their lives anything that is in any way opposed to God. For the Corinthians, who lived in a culture that had normalized idol worship, this included removing any and every connection to the worship of idols or false gods.

This ongoing process of cleansing our lives from things that opposed to God is how a believer participates with God in "bringing holiness to completion." God is the one who sets a believer aside as His, as holy, as set apart for His purposes. He does that for all who come to Him through faith in Christ and He begins the process of making that person new in the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Paul wrote that God will also finish this work in every believer (1 Corinthians 1:8). Christians, though, must participate by obeying God's commands to set aside every disobedience "in the fear of the Lord." That fear is about great respect for God's power and righteousness. It's also about carrying an awareness that Christ will judge the works of every believer when He returns, not to decide that person's eternal destiny but to give to him or her what is due for how they lived as believers (2 Corinthians 5:10).